Monday, March 11, 2013

Typography and Book Design

I am mostly an amateur enthusiast when it comes to book design and typography. I have handset letterpress and made my own very tiny book, I have read guides on typography (for fun, mind you), and have studied the material construction of books of poetry as part of my dissertation. So, I know the terminology, but I have not worked with inDesign, I've never worked with commercial printers, nor have I worked within comercial constraints.

Still, I have OPINIONS -- of course I do. And when our galleys came back with a half inch, max, of margins, 12-point Times New Roman font, and single spacing, I nearly flipped. I've already explained several times that you can't use a regular old serif typeface (ahem, "font" so I don't sound like a ponce) as your typeface for a title. And that you should match your title page and chapter headings closely in spirit to the typeface used on the cover. All you have to do to know that is look at literally ANY decent book.

These galleys looked like someone just took a Word file and printed it -- which was basically what was done. I felt bad, because it had looked fine as a PDF, so I OK'd it. It was astonishing how different it looked on screen and in print. Amazing how cramped and dense 35 lines per page looks compared to 25.

I think one thing my grad degree has taught me is how to learn the conventions of one's genre, and how to appear to belong. And how to teach yourself everything, since no-one else will do it for you. So I get frustrated when people don't do that.

No comments: